Hardball host Chris Matthews hosted a live Q&A on Monday in the Let’s Play Hardball group to discuss all things Hardball and his new book, “Tip and the Gipper.” Read on for a recap of some of the best questions, and Chris’s answers to them.
Q: sped teacher-7943401: Dear Mr. Matthews, Question #1: Do you think congress should pass a balanced budget ammendment? Question #:2 If you were a member of congress how would you address the Governnments’ out of contol spending and the 16+ TRILLION $$ national debt?
A Chris Matthews: Here’s the problem: Republicans don’t want to bring taxes up to meet the level of government spending they support. Democrats don’t want to limit government spending to the level they are willing to tax. Neither side is willing to balance spending with revenues. No amendment to the Constitution will stop them from doing it for the simple reason that it will and must include an escape hatch, some method of allowing exceptions. Those “exceptions” will become commonplace. The only real solution is for American voters to demand that the people they elect match the amount they back in spending equal the amount they support in taxes. That and only that will bring about political accountability: the voters’ demand.
Q: Nisha Chittal: Chris, what do you think about the rumors that Mark Penn may be back on the Clinton campaign in 2016. Given all the things that happened in 2008, do you think that Mark Penn would bring too much baggage and hurt the campaign? Should Hillary keep him or get rid of him for 2016?
A: Chris Matthews: I think HRC will run a notch or two to the right of President Obama. I think Penn is not the point. The point is where Secretary Clinton wants to position herself and the extent to which she prepares herself, personally and staff-wise, for what will prove to be a challenging re-entry into the highest level of political competition.
Q: @Socially_Urban: I’m a very loyal viewer and have been for quite some time. I’ve seen all the segments you’ve done dicussing New York’s stop and frisk policy. In all of those segments you seem to support this policy. If I’m wrong about this please clarify because it does not align with your progressive foward leaning political views. It’s disappointing to say the least. btw LOVE your new book Tip and the Gipper. I purchased it the day it came out & read it in two days.
A: Chris Matthews: Here’s my position. I believe we have to have a very clear, limited procedure for frisking people. It obviously must not be something that young people of color should expect to happen to them. I’m told that there is one time that it can be used effectively. Directly after a gang killing, police can expect an early move toward retaliation. It’s in those hours when a police officer in the area should be looking for groups of the rival gang on their way to avenge the killing of their member. It’s at that time that a frisk should be undertaken. It’s about preventing more deaths due to gang warfare. We may disagree. I don’t think so.
Q: pl929: Mr. Mathews, What specific parts of your book would you recommend for President Obama And Speaker Boehner? Any wisdoms, both can take from President Reagan and Speaker O’neal? Lastly, do you think we will have a successful 3rd party if this GOP civil war continues?
A: Chris Matthews: For President Obama I would recommend the early chapter about Ronald Reagan’s top-drawer lobbying effort in 1981, where he reached out to members on the Democratic side. It was first-rate work and it delivered. He, like President Obama, was a loner personally. The outreach didn’t come easy to him but he went to the job in earnest and it made a great deal of difference in getting his program approved. For Speaker Boehner I would recommend reading the chapter on how Tip O’Neill stood up against his Democratic caucus in backing Reagan on the US commitment to Lebanon. My boss didn’t like being cut off from his partisan base on that issue – especially after the terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks – but he stuck to his position right up until Reagan changed his.
Q: pbrown2873: What did Tip O’Neil think about the Iran Contra scandal? Did you or Tip notice the early onset of Alzheimer’s that Reagan had?
A: Chris Matthews: I love the line from Admiral Poindexter where he said that he closed his eyes to what Ollie North was up to because he was so angry with O’Neill for refusing to back the “contras.” He was absolutely against the Reagan policy and he never relented. The result, tragically, was a major scandal.
Q: ChrisMatthews4Prez: I have a question re. today’s Tea Party. In 1773 , even with taxation the British tea cost less than American tea. Many wealthy Americans that owned businesses that profited from the selling of American tea backed and encouraged the Boston Tea Party protest. When the Boston Tea Partiers dumped the British Tea overboard, these wealthy Americans profited because it was easier to sell their more expensive tea because less of the cheaper British tea was on the market. The Boston Tea Party was industrial espionage guised as a political act. There’s an irony with today’s tea party. Today’s tea party is getting duped by rich people like the Koch Bros. to perform political protests that help these rich people get richer. Today’s tea party is being used the same way the 1773 tea Partiers were. Profits for the rich hidden behind patriotism.
QUESTION: Does today’s Tea Party know how perfect their name is and how they are being fooled just like their forefathers?
A: Chris Matthews: I think the Koch brothers may have unleashed a political force they will regret. This became clear when the Tea Partiers pushed us toward the cliff during the debt crisis. Big money and populism is not a good mix – as big money learned.
Q: PolitMom52: Interesting. The nation doesn’t care for the health of the children. These children grow up to be our future military and leaders. Will there be enough healthy young men and women to care to join our armed services? Repubs might ponder on this the next time they want to start a war.
A: Chris Matthews: Great point. I think the health of our young people is the health of our country’s future.
Q: @crystalblue877: Would a restarting of the Korean War in the 90s or 00s been worth it to prevent a much more dangerous country (relative to Iran) in North Korea from getting a nuclear weapon?
A: Chris Matthews: I think we need to do all we can to find a solution short of war. I don’t think an American president can permit Iran to have nuclear weapons.
Q: Doug McCulley: Sometimes I have trouble watching, especially when you ask a guest a question, then rephrase it (before they can answer), go off on a tangent, rephrase it again, interupt their attempt at an answer, then ask a different question. Why do you do this?
A: Chris Matthews: I try every night to engage in an exciting, provocative dialogue. My guests rally to the occasion and always want to return for future shows. I believe that you can keep up with the lively method that I use if you sit and pay attention. Hardball is not a show you can watch while doing something else or with less than full attention. I like it this way. For me to sit there and let the guest give long answers would be to make it a very different, less exciting show.
Q: yi-yi: When will the Democrats and democratic commentators, stop writing negative commercials for the Gop’ 2014 election? With all the negative talk about the ACA coming from Democrats, the GOP don’t have to say anything. And the sad thing i, they hardly ever give a full eexplanation about the ACA.
A: Chris Matthews: Politicians are expected to tell the truth. They can’t simply deny what is apparent. The important partisan point they need to make is that the Democrats are the only party with a health care plan. If you are seriously sick, who are you rooting for? The party trying to get you insured or the party mocking the effort? I think we know the answer.
Q: Nik Christensen: How do you think the American political system can move past the Tea Party McCarthy-ism of the day towards a more unified ‘Tip & the Gipper’ style cooperative political system?
A: Chris Matthews: The one thing that would change the Republican party would be the nomination of a centrist Republican who implicitly repudiates the Tea Party method. I’m not talking philosophy but method. Opposition to the rising debt and excessive government spending is key to the Republican brand; the craziness and relentless anger is a problem for the brand.
Q: Nik Christensen: ‘Tip & the Gipper’ is clearly a love child of yours and I loved reading the book because of the passion and love that went into the project. I’m just curious…what chapter or section of the book is your personal favourite?
A: Chris Matthews: Clearly it’s “The Lord is My Shepherd,” the part about my boss and President Reagan praying together in George Washington University Hospital after the assassination attempt.
Q: Christopher Witt: Do you think that the politics of this country would be significantly different if there were more major parties than just the Republicans and the Democrats in this era?
A: Chris Matthews: I think we will always have two parties for the constitutional reason that it takes a majority of electoral votes to elect a president. Getting a majority would be quite difficult if you had three parties competing. I also wonder if we would have a workable congress with parties only able to mount a plurality and not a majority. Hey, it’s tough enough as it is finding a consensus.
Q: Richard Finneran: Chris – Hardball is easily the best political program on television. Thanks for that. The recent government shutdown, like the previous debt ceiling crisis, has once again exposed John Boehner’s lack of control over his caucus. Two questions: 1. As the great Congressional historian that you are, can you remember a Speaker of the House in the modern era who has been so rebuffed by his own caucus as Boehner has and maintained his speakership—let alone doing it twice? 2. Are President Obama and the country better off with Boehner keeping his Speakership or losing it? If he lost it, who would likely take his place?
A: Chris Matthews: What needs to happen is for the majority of House Republicans to vote down the Tea Partiers in a division vote. They need to show their relative strength. I would love for Boehner to call for a “no confidence” vote like they have in the UK, thereby forcing his rightwing to show what they’ve got. I bet he’d win.
Q: Ferrer38: Hi Mr. Matthews. Big fan. Have question that’s nagged me for sometime now. Maybe u could shed some light on it..GOP talking point says big biz is laying people/moving to part time because of ACA. Another GOP talking point says Prez gave big biz an exception to ACA . How can both B true?
A: Chris Matthews: Let’s get serious. The party that opposed any healthcare solution for the forty-plus million waiting in emergency rooms is not rooting for the success of the Affordable Care Act.
Make sure to join the Let’s Play Hardball group for more opportunities in the future to chat with Chris!